Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

How does it feel to write a novel? Orson Scott Card's experience:

"...there is a weird story-dilation effect that I've noticed. At about 25,000 words, I start thinking this novel will never end -- I'm barely started and I've got all these pages! That feeling persists up to 50,000 words. But then, along about 75,000 words, I start getting a real anxiety that I'm suddenly moving so quickly that this novel won't get even to 90,000. Then, at about 100,000 words, I realize that I'm not done yet so I have nothing to worry about. And at 108,000 or 112,000, I'm done. Sometimes, of course, it doesn't happen that way -- Seventh Son was shorter, Saints was longer, Xenocide was longer. But generally speaking, at the pace I tend to use, and with the sense I have developed of how much story makes a book, my novels hover between 100,000 and 110,000 words. But that's me -- it's what I'm comfortable with

Interesting. But here is the real revealing bit:

"I guess what it boils down to is: Until you've written some novels, you don't know what it feels like to write novels, so you can't make decisions about length. Nor can you trust your feelings along the way, since at times it will feel as if the book will never end and other times as if you'll never be able to stretch it out long enough to make a book out of it. And length does not really depend on the plotting. It depends on the pacing."

These two quotes rate pacing above plotting. The plot here is inherent in the characterisation:- that is, the character is seen as Emotion v. Emotion, or as having dual desires such as I love X and I also love Y. Pacing is the revelation of character over time, in the appropriate manner to the audience.

But more surprising for me is that a book can expand and contract itself to fit the pace, without significant changes to the plot itself. A new idea every day on this blog!

On The Ridiculous In Writing, Orson Scott Card again:

- When you reach for emotions the story has not earned, we call it "sentimental" or "melodramatic."

This is the principle of adequateness, so boldly denied by Robert Browning when he says "A man's reach should exceed his grasp." Perhaps Browning might have written successful plays had he worked within his sphere of influence and not fought Romantically to force himself to be Sublime. In any case, Longinius is the origin of this principle in his essay On the Sublime, which itself is a sublimely moving piece of literature.

How To Tell A Story With Soul, According to Orson Scott Card.

Here is Card discussing story telling with soul:

" thing is certain: You, as a writer, can't be thinking about this sort of thing: "What's the formula for deeply honest, moving writing?" Think about it for a minute, and you'll realize that this is precisely the question that probably got a lot of writers into trouble ...:

Orson Scott Card: the moral essence of a great man

"One recurring theme in Card's work is aggressive tolerance ("intolerance of intolerance"); the farther he strays from this theme, the less satisfactory his books tend to be."

Now I should tell the reader that I have devoured and passionately admired Card's work, and I can vouch that this statement, is flatout wrong.

Aggressive tolerance is not one recurring theme. It is THE recurring theme.

In fact I would venture that it is the critical key to Card himself, with his emphasis on diversity and fallibility, fate and choice - all these distinctive traits or ethos arose from this single point where Card himself refuses to tolerate intolerance... it is the agon, the Passion, of Card himself that lends the books of his that are aligned with this the deep and central root of moral strength

All of which is why I love Mr Card's work.

The quote above comes from a fairly brilliant review of Card's career: but the link on the title is to Card's website... honestly, you need go no farther to the essence of this man that the first sentence of this entry.

Science Fiction Research, and Getting The Reader To Build Their Own World.

I love it when I'm right about a good thing.

The Gaia project is naturally a series of short stories. Highly issues based segments that function as independent units, smaller work chunks, more indepth characterisation - the natural slide of best practice goes there.

So I'm hard at work on a story from the point of view of not knowing what direction it'll take, when I get up and go to a fellowship meeting. It's CHARGED, and as I leave I reflect how the awareness of lovingness peaks and troughs over time... aware too of how much love is moving in my life nowadays... aware, finally, how contact with spiritual principles feels SO GOOD that it affords a pleasure nothing less than orgasmic. And I have the key insight into Valery's character there, right there.

Val is three years old and highly intelligent by scientiific intervention... he hasn't suffered childhood apoptosis, the death of most of our brain cells in early childhood. So he's excruciatingly sensitive to the world around him... the passage through the end of infancy to the start of childhood for him is excruciating and isolating, just like adolescence, but WITHOUT THE SEX.

That is key... Valery is intelligent enough to be searching for it but not know what it is, because no-one human has ever had a puberty experience at the age of three before. So what naturally ensures is both good science fiction, since it would not ensue without Val's chemically altered brain, and good storytelling, since it is the necessary outcome of Val's torment and his relationship with his Dad and his problems.

I wrote til the pen ran out. I wrote as I walked in the dark. I wrote, and the pen died at the train station and I could only meditate happily til I got home just now.

So I hope and have faith that, by the grace of God, I may write a story which is riveting and full of life.

Now, though, to the subject of this BLOG: SF writing how-tos:

I've been reading, and promised, a piece on worldbuilding here from the top SF writers. I have a more pressing personal need.

I need to find out what it's like to live in Vermont. Do they have gated communities? What are they like to live in? I need to exchange email with someone who lives in one of these communities.

I need to know what it's actually like to DO genetics and microbiology, and infuse that sense of excitement and reality into my work to make it shine.

I need to know the mores of the field of microbio and genetics... what does EVERYONE know about these things... what kind of jokes do they say... what's it like between academia and business genetics, between the military and the self-startup businesses? Where's the 'silicon valley' of biotech?

What about the idea of the story for sensor genes, control sensor genes, and multisensor genes? How realistic and powerful can the ending be... what would happen if one injected these type of genes, if they exist, into one's body?

What about life in the University of the protagonist, Professor Cutter... which uni specifically? I know it's the Uni of California but which one specialises in biotech of this specific kind?

What about the America of the story... sliding unstoppably into totalitarianism, being torn to shred by the Christian Right, battling the Christian Left and the Catholic Reform Party while the Democrats and Republications quietly slide into nonexistence. What kind of political background do I need? Should I reread Tom Paine and then a short political history of the US? Should I involve the present election circus in the story's sensorium.

These are the practical aspect of world-building which I must tend to... they are not the main event, however, and that is learning how to facilitate the reader in building their own world... and quite another matter.

Here's a quote from a discussion on Orson Scott Card's How To Write Science Fiction:

"You don't get experience until after you need it."

I would adapt to research: You don't get the research you're seeking until after you need it."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Science Fiction Short Stories versus Gaia Novel

I have been reflecting for a few days on the structure of my novel, Return To Gaia, and I have some changes in mind.

Since the market is for short stories, and since the novel has this weird episodic structure of two books with twelves ten thousand word chapters each, and I have been struggling to inject the vitality and interest into the whole, I have come up with this idea:

Write short stories that link up into a novel. As simply as that. Charles Stross wrote his nine Accelerando stories as a coherent whole. So at the moment I am working of my version of "Lobsters", the opening story of the Accelerando. The benefit of this is that it crafts a world, focuses me on the episode at hand and making it interesting, and is more fun. Plus if I write an interesting "Lobsters", as it were, I can go on to write my version of "Halo", story two of Stross' Accelerando. So it is a win-win.

On a somehwat different note, I have been reassessing and returning to my roots in search of inner stability. As a result of severe and excessive sensitivities, I have stopped drinking coffee and my body is going through some fairly unusual changes as a result. As I write this, I am having hiccups for the nth time of the night. It is all for the best, and I have returned to the spiritual group I count myself a part of in order to recover my balance.

At present the process of raising the stakes and exploring and stretching out the opening chapters of Gaia into a short story is taking some detailed thought, and it will take some world-building and research as well. Expect to see essays on this blog soon on worldbuilding and research.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Histriography of tantra, materialism, mozart, and my day

This blog features my learning process as a sci-fi writer, and my personal struggles in the everyday world. The latter I should add is censored a little since this is a public medium.

I have been advised to split the two, but I will not because the intention here is to evolve a whole voice, neither personal nor impersonal, not public nor private but both. I am pretending that the distinction between public and private does not exist in this blog, that the contingencies of storytelling do not apply to my life.

So where other blogs are deeply thought-out, mine remains randomishly focused. So to speak.

Wrote an essay on the historiography of tantrism this morning. It was on my mind as I slept: I dreamt that buddhism was a virtual visual world, negotiable by icons that were subjectively experienced as one's own self; that certain icons were unviewable until certain other icons were seen.

This certainly is in the spirit of buddhism, which posits a profound progression of means and techniques towards enlightenment.

But a virtual world to generate enlightenment? I don't know. I am sure that my unconsciousness is handing me here to means to create the sci-fi story Murder on Pureland. But is it sufficient? We will see.

Yesterday I spent evenly on four things:
1 Moving my flatmates' furniture out
2 Downloading, playing and copying music and games,
3 Rewriting the novella I wrote in May, Vincent's Party.
4 Regretably, chatting online.

The last only gave me occasion for sorrow. I am not bigger or greater than my desire to chat, simply more sophisticated at turning it to creative and useful ends... the sorrow for me is when time is frittered away on inconsequential wastes of time which in my right mind I have absolutely no regard for. END OF SELF-DENIGRATING RAVE. No use in going to war against myself.

As to the other three activities, they yielded a pure delight and balanced joy. I went to sleep reading Robert Silverberg's masterful little story "A Tip On A Turtle", where the heroine, merely seeking a root after a horrible divorce, finds instead the ability to see the future that renders attachment to anything material completely, well, IMMATERIAL. It is a fascinating riff on desire and attachment, and appropriate for my exhausted and numb mood.

On a lighter note, I woke in a house almost all mine! What remains of my ex-flatmate, besides the annoyingly rearranged furtniture, is chests of drawers, the hands free phone, and cutlery, which at present is piled up dirty in the sink as a wee message to myself that I do not like excessive possessions for any reason.

It has been interesting explaining my attitude to materialism to my ex-flatmate, and I will try here since it seems unique. Possessions come as a consequnce of certain patterns of orderly behavior in one's life. But these patterns of orderly behavior do NOT come as a consequence of working like a madman unless you wish to trade happiness for material posessions, which is clearly absurb and inadequate, since we could die at any moment and render the entire pursuit a joke. Therefore, the patterns of orderly behaviour which produce wealth, posessions, etc, come ONLY as a consequence of aligning oneself with eternal principles which are inherently joyful and satisfying.

The paradox of this inner alignment is that it at once severs any attachment with aforesaid posessions, and at the same time creates the conditions for these things to appear in one's life. It is not ascetic to deny that one wants posessions, it is stupid. Asceticism is useful solely for demonstrating the true source of pleasure, which is a phenomenon that, although triggered by outside events, originates completely from within the self. Asceticism demonstrates, in appropriate time, the reality that posessions give no joy, but only give you excuse to feel the joy.

To explain it seems complicated. I experience it as a calm inner knowing, like a warm light in my heart. So it is very simple and obvious to me.

Speaking of warm-heartedness, I am listening to a newly acquired BBC recording of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It distinguishes itself by above all the quality of HONESTY to itself, an internality or inwardness which can only be described inadvertently as a fidelity to itself, or as a faithfulness to it's own intrinsic originality. Honesty is perhaps the simpler word. But it is above all a music in the influence of which dishonesty becomes simply impossible. It is like lying to a child you love.

I would include a clip of it online had I skilful means, but I am still a novice at this blogging art, so I request and humbly appreciate your forebearance, Kind Reader... :-))

Friday, September 24, 2004


Silverberg: “Technique is merely a means to an end, and in this case the means is simply to convey and understanding the guise of an entertainment. The storytelling art evolved as a way of interpreting the world... creating order out of chaos...

“A writer must peer into the heart of chaos: a writer must know something about the world.”

You must become: “an eternal apprentice to the world... I once believed that there was a single Secret of Writing that all the true writers had managed to learn. The secret of the Secret is that it doesn’t exist.”

Silverberg is conflating ideas together here. The world and chaos are not one and the same. A further conflating: The humbling realization of the need to learn and grow need not be painful, but pleasurable and liberating. And realizing this humility, this apprenticeship to reality, is nowhere near the same thing as actually being a great storyteller (having the Secret).

No, the Secret lies elsewhere: it lies in the mysterious notion of Centre.

The centre seems to arise spontaneously in awareness. Normal noisy consciousness seems to cloud it over, but in reality it is always there potentially. The trick however is to bring a sense of it into your body by practice.

Stressed, distracted, intellectual writers are focused on content, not context. The centre is the source of the powerful context.

The centre is invisible. It can only be observed indirectly, by its effects. Here are a few observations of centre:

1. The creator of Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba says that he loses his centre all the time, but he regains it so fast that you do not see him lose it.

2. Greg Louganis, one of the world’s greatest divers, reveals that 90 % of the time he is not able to leap off the diving board in a perfect manner, so he is constantly in a state of midair correction.

You will often hear people say that the Centre has a physical location. They are not accurate in saying that: the fact that it effects your body in specific and certain ways, allowing you to feel very grounded, your belly soft and full, and your eyes fluid and relaxed, is only an aftereffect of the presence of Centre itself.

For Centre is a thing that becomes energized by focusing selflessly on the process of creating a moral mechanism. That is to say, in order for you to successfully create a dramatic story, you automatically create it from your Centre. The Centre and the Story come together, without cause and effect, and are both present simultaneously.

A remarkable story will illustrate this point a little better:

This is from Al Secundo, “The 15-Second Principle.”

“Hours before the concert, some member’s of Elvis’s staff would arrive at the performing venue and meticulously measure a distance that was exactly one thousand yards away from the arena, theatre or hall. Finally, Elvis’s large dressing-room trailer would be placed on this distant spot.

A few hour before show time, Elvis would arrive and enter this trailer. Elvis rarely appeared ready or able to work. In fact it appeared he needed an energy and charisma transfusion. Even after Elvis showered and changed into his costume, he was still in a low-energy state.

Elvis would remain in this nonenergized state even after he left his trailer and started on his thousand-yard walk toward the venue. As the walk progressed, however, something incredible always happened. With each step, Elvis woulld slowly but surely regain his energy, vitality and focus.

By the time he reached the venue, Elvis would be radiating an enormous amount of energy and charisma. In fact Elvis’s energy field became so radiant and powerful that the audience would miraculously sense his presence before he ever entered the venue. They’d react by going into a clapping and screaming frenzy. This would continue until Elvis entered the venue and finally appeared onstage...

It’s important to note that whenever Elvis would begin his walk, he was not trying to cover up his low-energy state. Instead he was being authentic with his fatigue. He did not pretend he was ready to perform. Rather, he accepted and began from wherever he was at - a low-energy state...

Another helpful point is that Elvis became electrified BEFORE he took the stage. He didn’t wait for the audience to energize him. Rather, he took responsibility for energizing himself.”

A spine tingling image!

This is the level of energy required to be able to generate centre, as well as extraordinary creative striving.

So thinking of your own writing efforts, to what extent do you applythe principle of the Thousand Yard Walk. Since the work of creating a moral mechanism is so important and powerful, how do you generate awareness BEFORE the work begins.

As you can see from the story, it is irresponsible to expect your story or your reader to create this energy. You must do it before you start.

The Secret of finding your Centre is that you must generate the internal power of awareness, so that you can self-correct mid-sentence. Here is a final point on finding the Centre from Robert Silverberg, one I passionately disagree with, which brings up the final point about centre:

“The secret of the Secret is that it doesn’t exist... you just go on, doing your best, living and reading and thinking and studying, and working and searching for answers.”

The answer is that you do these things anyway because you love to do them, and in that love they give you pleasure. But there is a more subtle, and frankly despairing conclusion beneath Silverberg’s admission, one I would be unable to register had I not been familiar with his famed story, ‘Capricorn Games’, and its dreadful moral nihilism.

Because the Secret does exist, and so does the Centre! But as they are statistically amazingly rare states it is commonplace to conclude they do not exist. The source of inspiration is the Home where our spirits and most inspired and most alive, and it exists more truly than anything in the matter of our daily lives.

Ultimately creation manifests from that invisible centre, about which it has been said that it is unborn and does not die. Wise men cleave to it alone, and it alone makes the many masteries required to write well worth learning slowly over many years.

The last article on the mechanics of creation is about how to generate and cultivate the sustained state of centre, which lead to the creation of dramatic stories. The next and final article concerns our very personal and intimate experiences of human pleasure, which lie at the essence of creativity itself.


Mastery of craft is a mastery of the process, and that requires a mindset that no technique can teach. But do not fear that the process is difficult. In fact, it is the opposite: pleasure and precision go together in writing. Only in ultra-stressed out perfectionists do you encounter the master who is skilled but not the absolute best, in spite of their labours.

The way to master your craft is to embody - and not merely emulate - the context of how a master works. And how does a master work? It is very simple. What is complex is how a wannabe works. In fact, the simplicity can be frustrating, because if you look carefully, you’ll notice the seems more relaxed and pleasured by her work.

Look closer! the context is the message: an invisible something generates mastery in the master’s writing. How a master works is the message of mastery.

What follows are three intrieging glimpses into this inaccessible elite world. I will publish them in separate entries, and I am sure you will learn how the mastery of craft occurs from them.


There is much more to a story than pitting a hero against a villain and letting them go at it. A story is a moral mechanism that exists solely to release the tension of the readers. The technical word for this release, catharsis, may as well be called orgasm, since it is all the same thing. Whatever else a story is, in operation it can be said to be this key entity:

1. A story is a moral mechanism for the release of tension. Knowing this should be a great release of tension for you too, since it means you can relax and focus on the moral mechanism while letting the plot take care of itself.

Knowing that a dramatic context really is “a zone of inevitable opposition of powerful forces that emits ever-widening reverbererations until it is neutralized somehow in a way that creates understanding, insight, and harmony” allows one to “work backward from my perception of the story’s central issue to generate its plot.” Robert Silverbery, Science Fiction 101.

So all fiction, he says, “even the sleaziest”, is a ritual healing art, concerned with restoring natural harmony to the universe. But resolving tension on what scale? Personal writing exists merely to resolve personal tension; public writing, on the other hand, is a public ritual and has special conditions. So here are the conditions of a great story:

ONE. The conflict must be unavoidable. Otherwise, it would be avoided in reality and no tension would be created.
TWO. The conflict must be between to genuinely powerful forces. Pseudo-powers are not adequate.
THREE. The conflict must be public and natural. This means that it is relevant to the larger world.

So the creating of drama is basically creating a very simple mechanism in the mind of the readers. But the actual experience of creating itself is another matter altogether, which the next article will address in ‘How to Create From The Centre.’


Have you ever created a baby? If so, you don’t need to read this article and you know how easy and pleasurable creating can be.

Al Secundo calls this the Pleasure Priority, but I think joy is a better word because it has none of the associations with animalism, corruption, escapism, or excess that the word pleasure has. If you’re in joy, you don’t need to do or be anything else but where you are now. Joy implies a sense of profound completeness.

Joy. It’s a bitter word for many, whose hearts and mind record and detail a world made bleak with obligation. But why, then, are they few at the top of the world, free to strive and create, and many at the bottom struggling and stressing to survive?

Perhaps one reason is that joy demands more of the few than we many are willingto give. We would prefer to hold onto our reliable, dull and measured daily pleasures than let go into the unfamiliar job of creating and joy.

It is helpful to remember that joy is our natural and public state, not the frenzy of busyness that normal life often seems. And it can also be freeing to simply acknowledge that joy is not possible at the present time, that suffering is real instead. Know that even in the midst of suffering, joy is forever more powerful. Breakthrough into inspirational clarity can occur at any moment.

Al Secundo puts it this way: When we create, it’s possible to enjoy the experience more than the results. It’s possible to realize more of your objectives with greater satisfaction and ease if you let the pleasure priority come before the precision of striving for mastery.

I agree wholeheartedly. But I see one main problem with this attitude. Ignorance of this problem makes his joyful advice ineffective for four-fifths of readers.

Here is the problem: in order to cope with the suffering of everyday life, four-fifths of humanity lives in habitual denial. Al’s marvellous advice will not work for them, because they will automatically value their self-deceptions more highly than they value the experience of creating.

This can unfortunately be seen in Alastair Reynolds work. It is safer to assume he is ignorant of the amoral and despairing effect of his work than to presume that he is interested in corrupting his readers. And the ignorance in the work implies the same dishonesty in the man, unfortunately.

So this is a tremendous problem that cannot be solved by us, but can only be solved by the greace of joy itself.

One of the most interesting, marvellous and revealing aspects of joy and of creating is dedication. A story is always dedicated to a moral reality of some kind, and to complete a story always requires dedication to that same principle that it teaches. it is rare that the quality of dedication in a writer’s story does not reveal the writer’s level of consciousness. Often a writer consciously dedicates his work with a statement at the front of the book such as “Dedicated to Sissy, with love, Herbert.”

Dedication is the trigger for joy: by dedicating your work to some bold and joy-creating principle such as Freedom, Peace, Love, Beauty or Genius, the work and to an extent the consciousness of the writer herself must reflect the conflict between principles within awareness.

This conflict will often occur unconsciously in the writer - that is to say in awareness but outside consciousness. But the willingness to tackle the principles that inspire whole civilisations in your public stories is the trigger for the heart-opening bounty of joy that comes from creating.

Here then are some steps that may help you in this enterprise:

STEP ONE. Learn to distinguish between activities and actions.

An activity is any habitual, continuing and distracting behaviour. An action is any intentional, one-off and focused endeavour that is aligned with being happy. Since four-fifths of humanity is preoccupied with wasteful, harmful, useless, meaningless and negative activities, it is 80% likely you are too. It is helpful to remember that these activities, which seem so familiar and easy, are the source of constant turbulence and suffering within and without; and that by simply recognising the need for action you are minimising that suffering. So you have a great incentive to take creative action, and a great disincentive to cease activity.

STEP TWO. Actions to set up the right context.

Creation appears when the right context is in place. Context includes your physical space, your health, your mental state. I promise you now that once your context is rectified, you cannot help but feel happy and create. It is inevitable.

On the other hand, until your context is rectified you will oscillate, swinging between extremes of inspiration and desperation, peace and stress, until you have simply eliminated whatever is in the way.

For instance, at this moment I have five boxes of writing from the last fifteen years piled by my desk. It effects my workspace and clutters it up. I have recognised that having this clutter in my life lets me create suffering for myself, so now every day or two I clear a little bit of it up, intentionally and in a laid back way. As a result, the internal suffering caused by the context of clutter has vanished, and the clutter is vanishing now too in its own time. More importantly I have a sense of peace about the mess and clutter that has harassed and upset me for so long.

STEP THREE. Dedicate yourself the right context.

Stephen Covey has popularised mission statements to business with his book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. These are simply statements of what you have begun aligning yourself with.

Many professional creators are quite orderly and discipled about it. But manyof these same creators will also be quite laid back about what they are aligned with; they know the source is always there, and they need only keep their lives and hearts clear and allow things to unfold.

That is the kind of statement you need to formulate. Simply writing the intended title of the story may be enough.

STEP FOUR. Take the thousand yard walk.

Creating is depends on being aware, and awareness, awareness of the vast and clear-blue-sky type, takes more energy to generate at the outset than the normal consciousness requires. So you need to consciously and intentionally dedicate yourself to creating a charge of energy and enthusiasm before you sit down to write. This is your responsibility, not the responsbility of the world, the story, the reader or the publisher.

And now I must confess, my thousand yard walk for many years, since I was a very small child, has been the passion and extreme delight that books evoke in my heart and mind. The books of other men and women give me such deep pleasure, that it were a lie to say how great my joy and love of them is.

Some others may have other mean; I must confess my ignorance of these other means. However you take the thousand yard walk, realize that not taking it is paramount to depending on the world to make you feel good. As soon as your story hits a hitch, will you have the charged awareness already prepared to self-correct and return to centre, or will that hitch topple you away from the Centre and from joy?

In finishing these four pieces, I must finally express my gratitude and wonder at the masters of creation I have mentioned that have taught me so much: to Robert Silverberg, Alastair Reynolds, David R Hawkins, John C Wright, and Al Secundo... thankyou for the joy your work inspires in me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

how to tell a good story, and how to sell a good story

In terms of end results, selling and telling are one and the same thing according to Donald Maass, author and agent of Sci Fi.

This entry is gratefully inspired by Sara Douglas Australian's bestselling fantasy writer and premier storyteller.

The best books around don't describe in detail. They don't have to. Instead, they make use of my reader's imagination.

Our imaginations embellish the bare facts, so use this in the same way a good film maker does to your advantage by giving Prompts.

Prompts are hints that force the reader to work things out for themselves. Instead of explaining it to them as if they were five-year-old children, a good author consciously gives the reader prompts that propel the reader's imagination to create their own vast landscapes.

A bad writer is one who constantly describes, or who constantly tells the reader what they should see. It is the difference between manipulating your readers and allowing them to actively read, between an experience of rigid picturing and flexible envisioning, and, ultimately, between a mass market paperback and a classic and timeless novel.

It is THAT important. Your readers have active, intelligent imaginations. Make them use them. They will literally love you for it.

The economics of abundance in near future science fiction

This quote exemplifies the biologically-base economy of the Gaia world I'm building. Solar economies; Gaian Economic Theories, involving Whole Systems Approaches:


Our ability to maximize the utilization of resources (applying the Infinite Bootstrap Principle) is one reason behind our "expanding-pie economy. Cultivate the habit of constantly looking for additional resources you can utilize. Become more resource-conscious! Remember what Buckminster Fuller said in Special Report #TL13A: The Millionaire's Secret (I) about our resources on earth being so plentiful and abundant that every man, woman, and child should be a millionaire many times over?

Important Aspects of the Universe
The most fundamental reason making possible the Infinite Bootstrap Principle is sunshine. Our sun shines all the time, sending us an abundance of free energy. We can utilize this energy in an indeterminate number of ways to do practically anything we can imagine. Think of the over-abundance of the sun's energy - this huge surplus just waiting for us to put it to work!


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sawyer's Seven Secrets of Massive Publicity in Science Fiction Writing

Again, deepest thanks to the working master in the field, Robert J Sawyer. His books and excellent website linked above, continue to inspire.

1. Define yourself in a way that makes you appear special in the eyes of the press. Find an identity hook.

For me, this is like crafting a great hook opening to a story, except the story will be written by others... the hook must be sizzling if the story is to go the way you intend. 'Special' is a qualitative term, so here a results-orientation is essential. Rush Limbaugh's focus in his radio show, I hear, is to make more people want to listen to me. So his external, results-oriented focus is the thing here. Different hooks for different books.

2. Define your work in terms of something newsworthy.

For me again, newsworthiness is what's left after the "So what?" test. For instance:

Statement: I am releasing a new book this fall.

So what test: So what?

Reply: It is about X.

So what?

X is relevant to you because your readers are interested in Y.

So what?

A story abot X will help readers get more Y.

You get the idea. Please, readers of this daily column, if you feel I am incorrect in this view of newsworthiness, please lend me insights, cos that's the best I got!

3. Define your work as transcending the bounds of genre, to get greater coverage.

4. Send out press releases written by yourself with professional help, and $a, Send a good photo of yourself out with everything.

5. Get word out to the media long before the book's release. Focus on specific benefits to specific media when sending out galleys.

6. Define your work to recontextualise mainstream prejudice against Sci-Fi and, in the US, against mass market paperbacks.

7. Write near-future or present day SF that is issues-oriented. This makes it evidently topical to media.

8. An extra secret: broadly hit local media for paperback reviews, and specifically hit global media.

9. Extra extra secret: have a brilliant website like Charles Stross at, or Robert Sawyer at to market for you, and have short stories for sale online.

Career in science fiction writing and publishing?

I have a few thoughts in mind about Science Fiction Writing, which I want to enumerate:

Copying success is a smart policy. This means that the people I admire working in Sci-Fi now I should imitate consciously. Robert J Sawyer's marvellous website, Charles Stross' geeky journal, and John C Wright's amazing ethical-moral stance.

Learning how to do basic web and realtime business practices is essential to a SF professional. The professional Sci-Fi writers blog has a certain structure and quality, a certain speedy way of delivering the message... it is an artform of its own. And it depends of how I define myself in a way that appears special in the eyes of the press.

Self definition is not a tricky question... it is simply a matter of appearing to be a big fish in a small pond. So I am an Australian, fr'instance, who contextualises everyday matters in the global context. That's it, the big fish is the ethical and moral issues the reality of spirituality raises, and the small pond is th everyday contexts of daily life, economics, politics, culture etc. I can position myself quite naturally around my interests.

On the side of caution, however, it is clear that setting myself up as a moral pundit is almost as uncertain as deferring all apparent judgement to spiritual sources. It is a paradox: for my career, in the 300s and 400s of Hawkinsian Levels of consciousness, I am required to hold clear opinions about things, but in my spiritual practice exists a mandate to hold no opinions on outside matters. I will seek advice on the online spiritual forums on this paradox; sure I can resolve it with help.

Ideally, to use Krishna's terminology, I would begin as a merchant class, making profit to praise God, aspire to being a editorial brahmin whose worship is in dispelling ignorance, and complete my writing career as a sannyasin, a wandering crazy man. All of which sounds a little fantastical to me, but I am happy to have hope and dream of these things right now.

Heinlein's 5 essential SF rules, and Sawyer's 6th

Grateful thanks to Robert J Sawyer, whose excellent site and books have inspired me so much.

Robert J Sawyer: "If you start off with a hundred people who say they want to be writers, you lose half of the remaining total after each rule - fully half of the people who hear each rule with fail to follow it."

Rule One: You Must Write.

Rule Two: Finish What You Start.

Sawyer adds: "You'll never master such things as plot, suspense, or character growth unless you actually construct and entire piece."

Rule Three: You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

Sawyer: "Don't tinket endlessly with your story."

Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story On The Market.

Rule Five: You Must Put Your Story On The Market Until It Has Sold.

Sawyer: "...simply turn the story around."
Sawyer: "If...rejected...send it out that very same day to another market."

And, finally, Sawyer's Rule, Rule Six: Start Work On Something Else.

Sawyer: "As soon as you've finished one piece, start on another."

I calibrate these rules at 400, but Heinlein himself tests weak (below 200 level of consciousness according to Dr Hawkin's arbitrary scale of human consciousness and kinesiological testing). Robert Sawyer tests strong, a rarity for science fiction author's, many of whom test weak and present negative and/or dehumanising visions of the future as an inadvertent result. He tests at level of consciousness 362, quite remarkably high.

You might compare these above rules with Robert Fritz's Creating Rules: which I will leave for a fuller discussion of power in a later blog entry


personal reflections

To start with, just the facts:

My income is set to fall 20 percent. Chances are slim I can avert it.

It is invigorating to have a genuine problem. After all, I will only be able to eat oatmeal and rice on an income like that. I will be able to catch public transport about ten times a fortnight, and walk everywhere else. I will be unable to buy anything new for the house, or for pleasure - no books, movies, or anything. It is invigorating, yes, but engenders mixed emotions.

I can still live here. I can still use the internet and the enormous public library systems all around me. I can still use gym, and enjoy nature, and visit the art galley, and WRITE. Ah WRITING!

Oh what kind of a path is this! My experience of the World is quite limited. My experience of my physical Reality, the body, is inadvertent and unconscious. Above all the experience of emotional Reality seems inchoate and troublesome.

Others plod about from job to home to play. I barely touch the World some days, and float and dart in anxious and invented heavens of hells. Do not say the afterlife is after life, for it is what the mind creates after the experience of life, the invented thing of the mind itself. The turbulence I experience of negativity AFTER the life experience of suffering, is hell, none other. The stillness and peace I generate AFTER the life experience of pleasure, is heaven, none other. Heaven and hell are all in the mind, and could I generate the armour of heaven around me, a vast and encompassing compassion such as a warrior feels as he kills and is killed, I would. I tread between heaven and hell.

That is the power of Homer's Illiad, if any, that on the windy plains of Troy you experience first hand the mystery of life, life long gone yet now present in the moment of the telling, life made new forever. That is, a great tale has a spirit, greater than the book itself. That is wonder of Beethoven and Mozart, that, intimate with yourself, you coldly sense beyond it the pure face of experiencingness, unsmiling and life-giving to all.

So I can write. And God Willing I can allow to be transmitted that life-giving sense to those who read.

Last night I was contemplating Tolstoy again. He is never far from my thoughts. His words haunt me like those of a old friend whose harsh advice gives great suffering because of how true it is, and great strength when genuine pain comes along.

I do not know how I should put it, but the details of the gestalt of his prose strikes me at once as a precise, almost yogic, physical posture and an internal, almost tantric, emotional alchemy, though at the same time the actual writing is hard core realism. This prose is the work of a man for whom reality is the prime value, reality above all. The death of Karenina is not so fierce as Hadji Murad's, whose life has a different significance overall - but the significant point here is that these characters actually HAVE a spirit to grieve over!!!

So here is a man whose work generates its own reality, and engenders new sense of life in the reader. The prophetic (Christian?) promise of new life here is that, spiritually speaking, Tolstoy's bitter criticisms of Shakespeare are accurate because Shakespeare, fine craftsman, can bring to bear his craft alone on his work and himself, while Tolstoy brings to bear his whole self on his whole reality. There is a greater refinement of egotism about Leo... I look at his photo on my wall as I write this. Pugnacious, fierce old man!!! How I love him.

But back to the subject at hand. I have contemplated in detail the invention of a life ('my' life) around this writing thing, and accumulated benefit and a lifestyle to that end, and now I observe my egotism whine and whinge and doubt and grizzle... I cannot describe my feelings about that nonjudgmentally.

I am extremely hard on myself, my body, my world. To pretend a false forebearance is to do a violence to oneself. I behave as if these few tools for contact with reality - my emotions, my body, and my world - will last forever, all the time aware they will NOT, and grieving that fact. I evade the topic and confront the issue, invent new topics, muddy the waters... it is most frustrating to confess this... I am extremely hard on myself.

"One does not practice is solitude; one is never alone" it is taught... what this seems to teach is that one cannot pretend that one does not exist in the world, in the body, in the emotions... these things bring one to knowing itself!

I just walked outside to relish the fading sunlight over the garden and I noticed that a spider had woven herself a web there. This web is the spider's signifier... this web is how the spider comes to know the world. Because of this genetically programming marvel of engineering, the spider knows how to eat (because she can), how to create (because she has), and how to live (because she does). There is no intermediary meaning here... the thing itself signifies itself, totally and all at once.

I read somewhere online that the spider knows how to be centered through the web... by the scintillations of force she knows the surrounding ecology; but sitting in the centre, she knows her own centre. Spiders are sophisticated beings. This is the secret spiritual purpose we seek through the world wide web: we learn the lesson of the spider.

What is the difference between the spider building and sitting within her web, the mahayana monks generating a sand mandala meditatively and destroying it, and myself managing my world, emotions, and body effectively before it dies?

Here is the difference (and apologies for those who do not understand the terminology):

The spider is in the Hinyana, in the narrow vehicle of relations to ideas.
The monks are in the Mahayana, the wider vehicle of relations with all others.
The self I speak of, that is in the Vajrayana, the reality vehicle, where Tolstoy is also.

There is no intercession, no miracle...
all that began long ago...
reality's the vehicle...
the test for all I know.

Emily Dickinson's lyric 'I heard a fly buzz...' describes the moment of death in the context of the narrowness of life... the vast tone of the little lyric exposes how narrow life is... the poem at once points to a Greater Life and simultaneously denies its factual existence in the brutal and impersonal acceptance of absolute death. Heaven and hell are not close for Emily but intermingled. I do not like her work.

So now I relate peacefully to all these three, emotions, body, and world. I come to knowing not through the peace, which is false heaven, but through the cessation of falsehood... heaven and hell are linguistic conveniences... life IS. Self-evident, open to all.

The sparrows twitter on the budding fig. The sound of rush hour travellers groans far away. Mozart is playing on the computer quietly. An open book at my side, with a dance CD to keep the page down, says: "We may have been taught sophisticatwed table manners by our aristocratic parents... still, there is some fundamental crudeness involves, because we have been taught a facade, rather than what should be felt. There could still be a crudeness of fundamentally not knowing how to relate with our cup of tea, our plate, our table, or our chair." An empty coffee cup sits on the other side of the computer, decorated Persian style with flowers and birds and butterflies of springtime, a lovely emerald green color in the growing dark of the coming night. The deep scarlet of the drapes, when pulled back, reveals the green shrubs beside the front door and the gathering blue air of the evening. I smell petrol from the road, the pollen of new flowers, the musty smell of my own body, the bitter aftertaste of coffee.

I sit somewhat slumped. The laptop is warm beneath my wrists, which rest on the board. My body is numb from sleep in the back and humming from coffee in the front. I will need to stretch and walk to wake it properly.

I feel sad, angry, excited, curious, stimulated, warm, quiet internally from the long dreamsleep. Nightmares forgotten cast their contented shadows of catharses. I feel many emotions in capsule form, waiting to be released in their proper time. I feel a mess of emotions. Many have lost capsule form and make a sluggishness internally, a lethargy, and a sense of obstacle and inner blockingness that is commonly called depression. And, also and simultaneously is the sense of witness, fierce and bright and clear and sharp... this is the Mind, ah yes, child of ignorance and passion... plaything of the Gods.

That is my experience this day. It has been a good day.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Inspiration from the past makes the future possible

We find attraction, inspiration, and virtue in what we are, no more nor less. Not in who we are now in the midst of our suffering (and everyone hurts, as the song says), nor is our idealised versions of our possible futures, but rather in the atemporal long view afforded by the indepth study of the humanity's past.

(I am just listening to Herbert Karajan wipe hot blue-blood off his outrageously vulgar recording of Mozart's Requiem. There is nothing a postwar German such as Herr Karajan cannot vulgarise and cheapen by just being very serious, because a nation denied vulgar pride is a national unable to express subtle refinement. For just these reasons the most vulgarly self-loving nations, the Japanese, Americans, and French are among our most subtle and refined.

It was not until I discovered the commonplace overuse of the vibrato in the string section is a merely modern flambouyance that the ear became able to distinguish why Beethoven at the hands of vulgar idiots like Karajan sounded so disgustingly pompous and arrogant; it is sad to see a modern German unman an ancient genius among Germans, Beethoven, of all his careful chromaticism and subtle lyricism, leaving only the violence of vibrato on the strings to overwhelm the ear with a brutal denial of German pride and glory.

It is interesting to note that if you talk this way to a German they will suspect you of being a neo-Nazi, even these days. It is like defending Israel's open, fair and free continuing public debate about Palestine to a Muslim. Muslims ape the role of the victim so convincingly because it lets them pretend that Islam is weak enough to be effected by persecution. The tedious and monotonously vulgar crap that comes from moderate muslim's mouths makes it clear that as long as they don't have to ask or answer any difficult questions about the source of power in their faith, they'll believe it. Fortunately Islam is strong and needs no defending, just reform.)

Where was I?

John C Wright, here talks about this long view in a way that makes it clear how superior it is in generating insight and welcome perspective on modern affairs. The long view of the classicist is profound indeed, more so because it offers a genuine escape from modernity that would not be afforded by, say, paleotology.

Just completed his magnificent novel, 'The Golden Transcendence'. yes, if you were wondering, I am a FAN!!!!!!!

Just started reading Robert Sawyer's Humans, about Neanderthalis and Humans meeting across parallel universes. It's great, well written as all Sawyer work it, and I expect to enjoy it.

Been writing SO much today due to the interview which this blog entry is linked to. I have written a story called "Abe Lincoln on Titan", another called "Observatory" and drafted several more.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Curry marsala madras with the LOT :-)

I woke late as usual today and moped for about seven hours. Even came online but there was nothing to post here due to a cloud of unrelenting negativity over me.

Finally I sent messages to my mum and my exflatmate, wrote an email to my brother, and told them ALL how poorly I was feeling. I kept it succinct: the subtext here is "Yes, I am feeling sheit but I need your support so I'm not complaining." That is the intent anyhow.

Then I broke down and had a really excellent cry and listened to some music, then I simply got up and started to clean. I thought, I'm cleaning! in astonishment. Something must have shifted. I had had the faith to reach out and voila, something had shifted. God bless!

I sat out in the sun and reread the small essay, The Nature Of God. It didn't impact me the way the online messages on the subject did in the groups I read it in, yet it helped me in a small way, thus: all beauty, all joy is God. So the wonderful release I felt before was God's Hand on my shoulder. What a relief.

I knew then why I had been feeling this bad. I have learnt the hard way that exposure to negative energy fields through people of low intent has a distinct entrainment effect - translating the gibberish, I mean that it's not negative people themselves but the field around them that has the life-diminishing effect. The injunction is to avoid all evil, not cos it's bad and you're good but cos it's not healthy to your growth and happiness. Very practical.

I started to make a curry with the Lot. I sat in the sun and chopped up raw tumeric root and Russian garlic. I added madras and tumeric powder and ojawan to the red hot ghee and took it of the stove before any smoke rose from the whole frying mush. I cooked Basmati rice in the microwave and added it to simmer in the herbs for five minutes before - and this way the eccessive bit in the whole excessive affair - I added three spoonfuls of cocoa powder, crushed grain powder, and garam marsala. It bubbled furiously and I covered it for ten minutes while I got online and now I just want to say I'm eating a delicious meal and with noone to share it with. O well!

You know, I guess I'm getting there.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Unless a seed dies, it will not have eternal life."

I let go...

I sink into the earth
Like Sita saying farewell to Krishna

I sink
The earth takes me
Down, down, down...

I inhale dirt first
Then fire

I get joy from self-loss
My soul pours out water of life
I gush and have no ending
I fertilise and see no fruit

I have no taste but sweet earth
I have no insight but earth forever
I am sweet and rotting sweetly
I am decaying into infinite sweetness
I die.

I rise up
Everything is disarray
Infinite chaos arises with me
Chaos, splendid, wrecked, horrible
Like a drug I rise in the blood of the world
Like an evil drug I sink down infinitely again
In the bones and the narrow parts of the world
I am lost again there forever

But I rise up still
Extraneous matter falls away
And I am more me from each falling
All collapses inward and away
And I am left full of myself.

I am the jewel on the crown of the world
The earth is infinitely far below
Long and long I relish it
"I am the jewel in the lotus"
This is repeat, repeat, repeat

Until it is time to fall away again.
And helplessly I let go into death.

Friday, September 17, 2004

exhibitionism, deviance, flashing, and a review

The above site was featured on a tv program last night.

It is in healing, blessing, and praying for the spirits of those oppressed by negativity that a society is great, because this internal generation of compassion has intrinsic nobility and inspirational power.

This site is part of the compassionate work of society at treating deviance, beginning with acceptance of reality on its own terms. I have a great interest in all expressions of sexuality (though to be honest it's mostly intellectual) and I find the presence of self-help groups for sexually addicted people inspiring and encouraging. They are recovery-style groups, clearly, so the spiritual element is there, but also the cognitive approaches are significant here; society caters for these people.

To see society openly dealing with things that only recently were sins, in a logical rational way, is hard evidence that the those who care are working for the welfare of those who suffer. I understand the number of reverse-wired perverse people is around 1.7 percent. These people test weak to positive stimuli and strong to weak stimuli on the kinesiologic muscle test.

For instance, such a person will test strong to say Saddam Hussein, and weak to Bill Clinton, for instance. Or strong to the Nazi symbol and weak to the American flag. In spite of political positionalities, the astonishing truth is that these stimuli produce unvarying responses in people. Bill Clinton and the US flat will, except in this small percentage of the population, unfailingly inspire and uplift. Which is reassuring to me: we can trust some things in this world to uplift.

This website linked above is interesting reading. The website itself tests weak in motive - but it is only the lack of complete and entire honesty in the writer. Please note I do not say it is the lack of disclosure, but the lack of inner self-honesty about his motivations and limitations, that is the thing that restrains the site from testing strong.

The dickflash site represents an enormous leap in power, UP from the very weak forms of negativity that we call shame and guilt and desire to the enormously more powerful forms of negativity we know as pride in repute, material success, and satisfaction of the formal requirements of moral transparency... all of which is not genuine Honesty/Courage/Integrity, which is a level of pleasure joy and happiness I have had the grace to experience sometimes. Honesty is a pleasure as different in quality from social and moral transparency (which in fact is really only opacity) as desire is from satisfaction, or arousal from orgasm.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

phew it's been a funny week!

I have asked my flatmate to move out.

It is weird in here. Instead of someone doing the dishes immediately, I wait until I have a sink full again. Instead of someone doing the washing through the week... ah, fukkit, i'm a bit indifferent to that stuff sometimes, but not indifferent enough to to be effected by the different, quieter house I live in now.

It's tempting to be angry at him. Instead i'm angry at circumstances.

I do what I do cos this is what I signed up for it. I do what my heart tells me to do with love kindness and beauty. I intend to give full expression to my essence. What I do leads to happiness because I focus on what I want.

So i've been going through a refocusing period. Actually a period of denial would be a better word. What's the use of refocusing when I'm distracted, annoyed, upset, irritated. What's the sense is writing goals, doing a plan for each major goal, doing a monthly and weekly plan, when I'm in this mood?

Found an interesting and goodhearted site today.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Writing Science Fiction That Sells in twelve steps

Ben Bova's 'The Art of Writing Science Fiction That Sells'

It teaches me immediately so many things which I want to share. Twelve points in particular of Mr Bova's work strike me as rich and relevant, and for your enlightenment here they are:

1. The term 'Sci-Fi' refers to TV series and films, often disparagingly.

2. Do not try to explain how the machinery words; just show what it does. Early SF invented weird explanations to the science we use now, and appear antiquated as a result.

3. Extraneous elements that need to be made relevant or discarded are: dazzling aspects of the story that do add value, aspects of the character than are not germinal to the conflict, style.

4. Space Operas, in the form of simplistic good v evil dramas, disappeared from writing in the 60s but are the mainstay of Hollywood today.

5. Conflict arises from the mind, not the action. Plot movement is not physical motion. A story moves when a character (and thus the reader) makes a new discovery. Action happens as the character gets into position for the discovery, then enacts physically his reponses to the revelation.

6. The bad guy thinks he's the hero; get rid of naughty type bad guys.

7. A plot is a mechanism in the readers mind for manufacturing suddenness.

8. The essence of plot is to do this: tie the protagonist to a chair and put a bomb at his feet from the very first paragraph of the story, Bova: "And make sure the bomb's clock ticks loudly."

9. Enact the characters thoughts and feelings on the big screen; characters realise their stories in a larger-than-life way in order to interest the reader.

10. Generally a writer earns more money per hour of work by writing novels than by writing short fiction.

11. Keep a Desk Book that contains sections on all aspects of the novel and the research.

12. There are three kinds of research: personal experience, other peoples' experience, and library research. I will particularly explore the first two forms of this as we proceed in new posts, because they are sets of skills requiring practice and focus.

So that's it! My learning from Sir Bova.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Word of the day: sensawunda. A SF term for a good book. Wonder if it would make a good title? Sensawunda: a space opera for teens. Nahhh.

Notes to self:

OTHER blogs are brief, why can't you be? Brevity is the soul of WHAT?!?... from William Shakespeare, the master of Sensawunda.

Stayed up reading another's blog. Afterward I needa shower cos it was so DERdee. Not gunna say whose blog it was; more a bog than a log.

Re the iMac: Learnt how to use the mac calendar (iCal). Now all I gotta do is actually follow the time I set for things. I got the iCd player sorta down pat. Sorta. iTunes. Next job is to get on the (i)net with the thing, which should be charming and I'll make sure I had a good nights sleep beforehand. iMac is a very "i" type of computer.

Thaz all folks. Brevity is the soul of shit.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Moderation in everything, all the way to freedom

Top 25 suppressed news stories. Jung talks about the shadow parlour game: get someone to describe someone he really HATES, then uncover those traits in his own personality in a way he can't deny. That's how these stories arise.

Distortion equals media equals society accumstomed to denial and irresponsiblity.

With a whole lot more love and understanding, we might accidentally end up with a moderate outcome for all. And moderation is what we do as a society when we are not adequate enough to strive for genuine freedom.

William Blake: the law of the lion is not the law of the horse, signifies permission for relativism to the anarchist, a justification for monarchy to a blueblood, and a market-driven meritocratic demoncracy such as the West uses at present. And all of these systems are LEAST WORST systems, useful mainful for the destruction and evil that they manage to avoid or avert.

It is possible that a truly beneficial system of governance might arise if we were willing to surrender our older forms. But the present forms of governance grow, including within them forms of the older ones such as monarchy and tribalism, and merge slowly into the greater whole. A noocracy, mind-class, from the word noosphere: brain-world. The closest word to this idea is from the sanskrit of Krishna: brahmin, the learned class, whose sacred work in is dispelling ignorance for the other classes.

I can relate to that. If someone were to ask me what I want born intending, I would say to dispell ignorance, create a profit, and of course pursue enlightenment. To me it is self-evident: what else could I possible desire? :-)

So thus.

Tonight I browsed some more blogs, of quite a different class. Sex, sex, sex - mostly of the sordid type. But one blogger has achieved an extraordinary fusion in his blog - blogging as a kind of profane eschatology. I'm aware these are strong words but I'm seriously impressed by geekslut's dark, photogenic, multimedia-dotted blog, all written in one impressive spontaneous and unified voice. This could be published; it reminds me of the 70s Rechy novel, City of Night, 30 years on. Took me out of my sense of self for a fair while.

Today I intend to be feel Good.
Today I intend to take out the Macintosh for a walk.
Today I intend to visit the botanical gardens and type and play Deimos Rising on the Mac, and listen to iTune files and revise my major goals and one page plan for each of them, and do a one page plan for this week that fulfills my intention to feel Good.
Today I intend to clean up my house before my new flatmate gets home from his bush weekend so he doesn't have to do anything but crash and sleep.
Today I intend to ask him to give me a few days at his housesit early this week to settle in.
Above all today I intend to feel Good.

discouragement with work, mtv, blog survey, my day

well i think today I'll write something more freeform.

what i have today to say is a little pathetic so i thought i'd make it look artsy in the hope that no-one reads it.

i'm watching Australian mtv and drinking coffee til my chest hurts. I went outside once today to talk to my neighbours cat, abbey, who was a bit distracted and not in the mood to really say hello, but handled a pat very well thankyou. a wellpatted cat that cat.

for what it's worth i'm feeling a bit offish, a bit not-on-ish. It is easy to go What a load of sheit because i'm physically very well off and contented and making great progress in my life at the moment. But the truth of the matter is i'm pissed off unreasonably with things at the moment. this is the pathetic thingi i wanted to talk about.

Nirvana is on tv, and how fully they describe nothing much i cannot be bother saying. I tried to write some scifi short stories and ended up coming up with itty bitty novels which thrillingly went nowhere. it was very frustrating.

i got angry to the point of cursing at least three times today from having to negotiate physical reality. i am simply tired of it all.

i logged onto about fifty blogs today which was intrinsically depressing because the sheer idiotic number of political blogs express such lavish stupidity that i can't even be bothered creating a cogent opinion on the lot of them. its funny ten years ago i had no opinion about politics cos I was ignorant, now i have no opinion about politics that isn't alterable and changeable depending on context.

Context, context, context, context, context, which is just lovely when like the content of life happens to be say cooking something to eat when you really haven't got any interest in food, or having to use stimulant coffee even though quite honestly you find caffeine to be a powerful and addictive social drug that you can't do without but you're not going to say that most of the time. No much better to rationalise and say, oh i'm feeling a lil grumpy today cos I'm not sleeping/eating/exercising/having sex too much/too little/enough/not often enough.

It's SO THERAPUTIC to talk... but if we're honest we'd just prefer our fucked up friends liquidate their stupid rantings. It would certainly make for shorter blog entries.

I'm uncomfortable in more ways than I care to pay attention to...what is the matter is the matter. what is not the matter is the matter. I don't feel like sheit but just Anxiousanxiousanxious. most unpleasant.

A few of the blogs fall suddenly silent. I wonder what happened to them. did they die? i ask. Most likely i answer.

A few of them are startlingly erudite, effortlessly brilliant, expressing a completeness that is inherent in a mind at one with the world around it, the true intellectual in her element.

I'll go back and put the links throughout for the various types of good blogs. the crap ones i won't link. nah. nogo

as to the famous ones, well, i've had a look at slushdot and bongbong and fuck and amyldada, and they are lovely, really.

Johnny Cash is on tv. I used to live with an ancient alcoholic who played Cash endlessly as an expression of his absolutely vacant soul, empty even of the perverted aggression so many helpless and incurable alcoholics manifest. So I always hate the guts out of Johnny Cash.

the interesting thing about blogs is that
the thing that really gets me is that
you know what's really important is that

no, sorry. No happy ending today; just a nasty tone and a bunch of words that don't belong together.


what i did today was wake and eat toast, and coffee, go outside in the sun, drink coffee, play about online with blogs, come up with sf ideas, watch the truly disgraceful local tv stations, watch the interesting arab news, play with the new iMac, sit in front of the heater tapping away to yahoo groups for writers i've just joined last night, burning up enough electricity to fuel a small nation.

The Beach Boys sing 'Don't Worry Baby,' on tv. i can see why they were so popular.

When I consider how interdependent everything is, it is no wonder things tend to run down, when we have little idea how to sustain them successfully. I have little to know idea how to sustain a simple stable lifestyle, much less how to keep a steady frame of mind for any length of time. I strive

Pavement on aussie mtv sing: "is it a crisis or a boring change?"... keepin it in perspective, in the clip they are running round town with santa suits and bow and arrow. omigod the evil alliance of mtv and blogging turns out to be magically seductive. The pavement band slides down grass in santa suits. They are so much more wonderfuller than they need to be... :-)

I started to write a story about a trip to jupiter. The idea was that suddenly the hardcore scientists onboard find in a 'magic spot' on the trip they can do magic, you know, old fashioned Abracadabra type stuff. It was meant to be a joke.

Then quickly and in accordance with my somber mood it because peice on the (apparent) conflict between faith and science, reflecting the rather effortlessly brilliant story on the subject I had read online at Rob Sawyer's site ( for his fine SF story). Then it became a rebellion on board a 5 year flight to Jupiter, which is simply not my story to write, truly and honestly Not My Style.

(sigh) These stories don't come easily unless you're the kind of person these stories come easily to which might seem redundantly obvious but you can become the kind of person easier than you can write these stories otherwise. In otherwords, they're fucken hard unless you're the kind of person who finds them bloody easy.

So I'm working working working. And it's hard hard hard. And I'm discouraged disco- never mind. I'll get over it about now.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I don't think this blog attracts many visitors

Hi anyone reading this!

I feel quite embarrassed to be writing in this variety of intimate and intellectual tones. The existence of a potential audience is exciting. Focusing.

Anyway today the computer arrived that I am to write the larger share of the Gaia novel on. I woke, after having been too excited to sleep until three o clock, to hear the delivery man tapping desultorily on the door.

He then did not hear my shouts that I would be a moment, and walked over to my NEIGHBOUR TWO FLATS DOWN, and handed her the several thousand dollar brand new computer for her to take care of on my behalf! I was pissed off for ooh a good half second. Before I realised that it didn't matter a damn if I complained to FEDERAL EXPRESS, the SUCKY delivery people, because all I would do would hurt the drivers reputation and nothing would alter.

Visions of whatsename down the way dragging the new iMac into Cash Converters for a second hand quote.

So I savored the unwrapping, slowly starting with the smallest, the USB disk drive and the carry baggette, then the Main Event. Then I set it up. Then I played around with it. Then I got extremely frustrated.

Then my flatmate came home and tried to reason with me and actually succeeded and left me with no reason to be upset AT ALL, so I had a good cry with him and went back to work.

It was nice. I stuck to nice insignificant things like copying favorite music onto iTunes to listen to while I worked and looking over ancient disks for crusty old stories I'd written six years ago. Nothing too challenging.

Then the call for the extra training course I'm supposedly doing came through and I fucked about a bit longer on the new computer (two more hours only!) before going into town for the arvo for a short short training session, a private interview discussing what they needed from me, and I left exhilerated and on fire. Simply put, these people want to support me in designing a curriculum for my future students, a simple cost-benefit and needs analysis, and a precise description of the market segments that I intend to teach. Basically they are support folk, which I am in dire need of at the moment.

So I was stoked.

En route to my flatmate getting pissed in a nearby pub I met an ex-Hare-Krishna, a man who had given me free Prashadam to eat when I had needed it, and we had a pretty wild chat. He had that steely fine sense of someone who has earnt an iron-solid sense of selfhood, and expresses it witha style which I have honestly only encountered much before in European novels, so I can only call it a Continental (or West Eurasian! haha) style.

We talked about partnership and relationship, so I told him what Krishna had to say in the Uddhava Gita about the who thing, words which are indelibly imprinted on my imagination for their luminous beauty and sheer utility in worldly matters. It's the story of the bangles, which I think I mentioned a few posts back.

That made his eyes open up and made my day. The ISKCON hari krishnas have done us in the West a raw deal I reckon. The first generation of Krishna-influenced humans, under the auspice of International Society For Krishna Consciousness, in the West were dancing cultists getting high on the Hari K chant, doing what Caitanya taught without only a nod to the other aspects of Krishna. Krishna is clearly more influential than the West's ISKCON movement in India, yet the attempts to transplant his teachings have struck difficulties it seems perhaps because the high culture of ancient india was so utterly different from anything we have in the past or future. I read a reductionistic history a few months back that put their deep and metaphysical culture down the relative pastoral isolation of the Asian subcontinent, with the Kashmir passes their only out on one side and the mashy land of Bangladesh on the other. I dunno. I think that is a dreadful excuse for a wonderful thing, though. And Krishna is doubtless a wonderful thing among wonders. He has the sense of aplitude without egotism that only Jesus can be said to have had historically, while the Buddha's 'perspective' is altogether a temporal, ahistorical even.

We talked about renunciation too, which clearly became complicated in his head, so I volunteer that renunciation the Philosophy is all very well but in practice it was the implicit, impersonal, and quite ordinary process of Growing Up; that in fact the only thing we renouce is our ignorance of the way reality works, progressively simplifying and cohering our perceptions into a single unity of vision towards which all wisdom tends in itself.

So I like to talk about that man Krishna. I would have liked to have met him.

I got to the pub, where my flatmate and I swapped days, and then we went on a wild eat and shop for food where he teased and flattered and flirted with, well, everybody in the damn marketplace. It was hilarious.

My best mate Dan rang when we got home to tell me he was visiting in about 12 days time, so I'll be writing a bit more about that. Then I went online to look for some new groups to become member of, and ended up dropping out of most of the ones I already was member off, and spending about an hour pleasurably dialoging out my various interests in various fields.

And I have an ISP to put the new computer into, which I'll be doing as soon as I can disconnect it from my flatmates computer!

That's it for today!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

troubles with this blog mean it's not printing, so THIS is a test run!

Oooh, heart sutra (drools out of left AND right sides of mouth)

The Heart of Great Wisdom Beyond Wisdom
The great Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in the deep course of wisdom beyond wisdom, seeing that the five aggregates are also empty of inherent nature, overcame all suffering and distress.
Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness. Emptiness is not other than form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness.
All phenomena are marked with emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor pure, neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no feelings, no perceptions, no formations, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eye, no realm of mind-consciousness, nor anything in between. There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, no old-age-and-death, no extinction of old-age-and-death, nor any of the twelve links.
Likewise there is no suffering, no origination, no cessation, and no path; no understanding, no attainment, and no non-attainment.
With nothing to attain the bodhisattva relies on wisdom beyond wisdom and the mind is no hindrance. Without any hindrance, there is no fear. Passing beyond every upside-down view, the bodhisattva abides in Nirvana.
All Buddhas in the past, present and future, relying on wisdom beyond wisdom, realize unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment.
Therefore this is the mantra of wisdom beyond wisdom, the mantra of great knowledge, the mantra that is unsurpassed, the mantra that is equal to the unequalled, the mantra that pacifies all suffering. Free from deception, it is the simple truth:
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!

Distressingly, the latest posts refuse to publish.

I'm not so sure what to do.

It's been an interesting night. I woke late feeling charged with phenomenal optimism, did a short meditation, went into town for the training course and found it was Cancelled after a little run around, handled some survival-type affairs, then bought two replacement coffees and came home.

The replacement coffee is because I can sense the impasse in various aspects of my life arising from the adrenalized, coffee-fueled activity I partake in, and the lack of perspective that occurs when coffee is intoxicatingly stimulating, and the downside, of course, of greyness that follows. So it's important for me to have replacement coffees. The word to describe what I am after here happens to be a sanskrit one: dharana.

I LOOOVEEE sanskit. It is precisely intentional but deliberately vague, otherworldly but intensely vivid, colorful and reality-focused. Dharana refers to a developmental quality of the mind where it is able to become focused in abstraction to such an extent that the field of the focus itself can begin to intermingle with the focus. It is also a developmental stage om regards to enlightenment - I meant to say, in regards to enlightenment.

All of which is relevant: cos I went to a Borders bookstore to preview read a bunch of books of mahayana and vajrayana buddhism. I was particularly impressed by the diamond sutra mahamantra, which as I read the explanation made perfect, if absolutely nonrational, sense to me; enough, at least to write it down and consider using it for it's sattvic quality. Sattva, and sattvic things, is another sanskrit word we have no equal for, but I won't explain that. One taste of sanskrit is enough to attract a newbie, if they have the tongue for it!!

Oh fukkit. Here it is:

Through mindfulness we experience Interbeingwhich means everything is in everything else.Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understandingis a great mantra, is the highest mantra,is the unequalled mantra, the destroyer of all suffering,the incorruptible truth. This is the mantra:
"Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha."

Uh, that's Ohm tayatha gate gate paragate paragamgate bodhi svaha to me.

Translation: "pay attention! this is how it is: you go, go, perfectly go, completely and perfectly go beyond enlightenment to the foundation of devotion."

The dhayana of the mahayana are obscure! no wonder the Dalai Lama emphasizes the unity and simplicity of Tibetan Buddhism! Significant for me as a Westerner too is the rise and fall of sectarian influence in Tibet in the 19 century, as the Rime, or unified, school combined the old and corrupt traditions. My present goal of having an in depth overview of the entire teachings of modern Buddhism is almost at an end; and the search is on for the final quarries that will allow me the sense that, yes, that is the reality of modern Buddhism.

I left Borders very happy, and looked in O Connels second hand books for abridgements of old French novels until the train came in twenty minutes.

The day then shifted gears. My new flatmate watched while I rather self consciously phoned to discover when the new computer will arrive (new everythings at the moment!), and while I made some dahl. I am quite unself-consciously Indian in many ways, simply because it is completely natural to me, but around another European I become quite odd about it, anticipating a critical motive behind their innocent questions. Today he asked what the ghee I was cooking with was, and I told him somewhat more than needed about it, doubtless in a slightly defensive tone. :-)

Then we went up into the hills while I chattered away under the influence of the two coffee replacements and an espresso (another new thing by flatmate has brought with him!). We talked Mazda cars; I like Mazdas inasmuch as I can be said to notice the presence of cars at all. He talked about my getting my license. The conversation shifted to my support systems, or lack thereof; and I found myself getting uncomfortable discussing my procrastication at finding a decent cognitive psychologist to work with an hour a week.

What the hell should be stopping me from just doing it? My frustration seemed evident. Intellectualism is so much safer, like a patch dry land in a flood; but when the flood receeds, do you dare descend to the lowlands again, for fear of the flood coming back? Maybe in this abtruse figure of speech something of my discomfit can be seen. I hate the fucking X that keeps me ineffective in certain areas of my life; it frustrates me so much that I can't hardly think about this without getting irritated and self-critical. So working with a decent cognitive therapist is hardly a waste of time; it's the most sensible approach to a very average and normal problem.

Much of all this I couldn't express that well as we drove up into the hills. O well. We got the trailer and drove in silence to the house he is to housesit. It was nice. The kookaburra sat in the back yard. We climbed redwood steps to a patio and slunk into a dry, musty smelling darkish kitchen. We looked in all the bedrooms and made jokes about the lifestyles of the occupants. He decided and I agree that the guest room looked most comfortable; the other rooms all had Memories.

Softly the sunk sank over the tree-obscured horizon, city and sea. Adelaide is so beautiful.

The kookaburra came to watch us. We toyed with various permutations of relationship as flatmates, various jobs and rights, approaches to living together. We talked dispassionately and with care. Sometimes I observe myself being reasonable and wonder if it will last; I wonder if I will one day not be able to maintain the semblance and lapse into primitive unreasoning; then I remember that I am not instinct any more than reason.

It does not frighten me to identify with logic, reason, clarity, as the I. What discourages me is the human legacy of obvious distortions of legitimate truths, animal appetites that require caring management, and the more subtle discriminations of judgementalism and prejudice that give rise to limited perspective. I seem to clearly see that the invention of psychoanalysis allowed a considerably greater number of humans to cast off this legacy to some degree; but I see then how these same intellectual systems, including religion and metaphysics, become the limitations on vitality and compassion. So I identify with logic, reason, clarity, as it were, provisionally.

Being able to think clearly has been a trigger for a profound sense of peace, happiness, gratitude and wonder. At the same time there seems to be fundamental difficulties that arise in consciousness as I practice this clarity every day, states that had been unconscious but now seem to intrude on consciousness. I sense fears and doubts which in all honesty I would only want to welcome compassionately, but for simple human fallibility have not been able to welcome into consciousness. So the arena of the mind is not that peaceful, nor comforting as it might have been imagined only some short few months ago when the locus of 'I' seemed powerless and destructive, and all it seemed the I could do was hold on for a miracle.

The miracle came and went. I wept with surprise to find myself transformed, and not overnight but simply through the practice of spiritual principles that are clear and obvious parts of the public consciousness, principles there for the taking and which I was so blessed to discover and be open for. And now I find the struggle and challenge periodically increases, then decreases, as the next opportunity or window for growth comes around.

The practice of spiritual principles - in the absolute essence only honesty, willingness, open-mindedness; the acknowledgement of the need for support; the sense of responsibility, positivity and purpose - these things do make life different for me, completely so.

But does the outside world change as well? Crucially for me, can I expect that people who appear trustworthy and test strong will actually be reliable? The corollary holds true as well: in order to attract integrous people into my life, I expect myself to be honest, willing and open-minded. Even life-long friends require a dedication to the excellence of the friendship, a committment and perseverance that I can find myself doubting exists. And yet these same few integrous folk have seemed to be such a strength and a joy to me, that I can hardly doubt that because it feels good it must be.

The challenge of growth, of being willing to face the truth and push through into new territory, and to be open-minded with who and what I find there, is very attractive to me. So in fact it is these friends who will applaud efforts to grow and empower the self; the sense of limitation arises from me, not the external world, and these doubts I feel are simply the harbingers of evolution.

One thing is certain; a new open-mindedness towards feelings can only help this process in me.

We came home and ate toast and drank coffee and had a loooong conversation about sexuality, parents, adoption, siblings, and our adolescence. We listened to Wayne Dyer, which got my mate pretty stoked up and I fiddled with chapter 6 and 7 of the Gaia book until I got frustrated. I surfed Amazon and the web looking for writers who could give me the vital hints on the challenges I was facing. I think I found em too:

The range of styles and approaches are almost decadent; three things seemed to increase the probability of movie options, which is a synctium of the promise this Gaia book has: first, the Herbert Dune-type novels take a vast world into a simple arena and express it in popular terms; second, the more surreal Phillip K. Dick and Michael Marshall Smith novels, featuring tropes from pop culture, tend to also slip into populist terms; finally, the writers I have read most are generally the fairly negative-feeling print run types. That is not the type of book I'm after. The third approach, one which Kevin Anderson has taken with the latest (7th) Dune book, is to hitch the bandwagon to the Star Wars marketing shibboleth for a gopful of cash and hope the wave of consumer pluralism carries you to a half-decent commercial shore. I am aware that was a crap sentence too but I'm on a role today so don't stop me; already I have managed to butcher, counter-butcher, and re-butcher chapters 6 and 7. I think I need a rest from it for a few minutes..

There. If this post refuses to publish, it's a Sign. A Sign that I am not getting published. And I will probably complain. Then I will go and open a new blog cause this it's simpler than dealing with the irritation. Sigh.

Most of my entries won't be this long, but I seem to be full of reflections today so there it is.

technical detail in sci-fi novels

The technical details of sci-fi novels are overwhelming me at the moment. I intend it to be a bit easier than all this. It's quite frustrating.

The opening of this book, a long interview between a reclusive biochemist and a double-crossing reporter, is not simply starting 'in media res' - in the middle of the story - but also in the middle of some very challenging issues.

I start to write invented science and have to give background on subjects. Naturalistic extrapolation from present day science is much less easy than simple invention of far out shit.

"Jeepers, O alien Sir, the Jacuziwhat drive is boiling over!"

"Never mind," Lester Stalin cried, "the techno-doer thingy will blind the field double-effect the bling-wa doo-doo-ifyer."

I mean, it's SHAIT; true. But the key is that I have NO IDEA how to do sensible, practical, down-to-earth projections of modern science a few decades into the future.

There are a few approaches. There is the "There it is! Approach". So:

Detective Mach walked over the street, gliding on the smart bitumen on robot shoes as it propelled him towards the wailing blonde.

Then there is the "It's incredible!" approach to introducing new technology:

"Janie stared in angelic wonderment as her beautiful loving father opened the gift box: out sprang the electronic pixie, whose sensor whiskers immediately probed into her fertile brain and began to eat her SOUL!!!!"

Perhaps that's a little too incredible. Never mind.

Then there's the cool, classic approach: Simply make it seem like the world has always been full of smart bitumen and electronic vampire pixies. The plot proceeds while in the background a pixies crosses the smart street in robot boots, little girl in it's bewhiskered grasp... ... ...


My point is that there is no easy way to introduce detail into a novel. I feel frustrated; I want to say, "For God's sake, its a science fiction novel, why can't I just presume a little background knowledge in my readers on plant biochemisty, artificial intelligence, ecology, genetics, cell biology, and endocrinology?"

In a way, sci-fi writers play on the credulity and mysticism of sci-fi writers. It is not my place to pretend that humans 'should' be more scientifically literate or wider read; that's ridiculous. The point is do I completely want to make the story absolutely clear to the reader?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

okay, I'm gonna simplify all this

Tonight I'm listening to Wayne Dyer's wonderful popularisation on CD of the nature of energy field, The Power of Intention. I'm finding it enormously inspirational.

Now the process of creating is underway, there is a gentle quality of awareness around the various controls in consciousness. It is as if this awareness fiddles the various knobs into place of things I DON'T want. Tonight I'm delighted to realise that it can be MUCH simpler:

The novel has certain qualities that already exist, as an impersonal field. The novel is popular, award winning, cinematic, powerful, compelling, heartfelt, organic and crystalline. The characters are charming, annoying, charismatic, intellectual, demanding, driven, obsessive geniuses. The plot is intricate, fantastic, intimately related to the world today, and heart-fulfilling. These are INTRINSIC qualities of the field.

When I sit down to criticise the crap out of an idea, I simply want to cry sometimes. It slows me down! The real progress appears when I let the genuine delight I feel show for the challenges that arise to this vision which I have described.

So to the friends reading this, thanks for the encouragement to accept the challenge to write from the heart.

Monday, September 06, 2004

novelistic reprise of 'reasonable, probable and necessary'

Last night I got the web connected. No more need for public web computers of dubious security. Anyway, I went a little wild and looked up all kinds of crap for a few hours, then since I have been researching for the novel online.

The aim was to discover the cutting edge of biology and the websites of biologists so I can later chat to them over various aspects of the novel as they progress. The presupposition that I can (or would want to) integrate large chunks of biotechnological know-how into a popular novel arises from the simple fact that the serious themes explored here require adequate justification in the actual work of the two main character scientists.

On another scale completely of course it is a way to explore a side of myself which I would not have otherwise been able to consider; the scientific interests that cannot be fulfilled otherwise can be fully exlicated here. And that's exciting and gratifying for me naturally.

But the deeper question for me is what exactly is the reasonable restraint to be exercised on behalf of the readership? What can I reasonably expect the reader to take on as a challenge? What is the necessary level of technical detail for a novel this scale?

The extremes are useful to consider.

Tolstoy's War and Peace, ( which I find a great source of inspiration for this project, is full of the type of excursion into theory that I dislike in a novel. But since the novel is ABOUT historiography as much as it's about Napoleon, there is at least an excuse.

On the other hand, another of my favorite novel's, Dean Koontz's magnificent and stylish Intensity ( has almost no exposition outside the characterisation.

Because the main characters are scientists, it would be remiss to exclude their work. The key I think is in contextualising it as something the reader sees as "necessary, reasonable and probable." In other words, establish it within a context of integrity so that the reason of the reader is brought to the party.

Necessary: is this piece of science truly necessary for the reader?
Reasonable; can it be reasonably expected that the reader understand this, given what has already been said? What reasonable level of challenge is required, commensurate with the payoff of the plot, for this information to be needful?
Probable: if we can assume the reader knows next to nothing about biology, and that the probable response to excessive technicalities will be putting the book down, what is the requisite information the reader needs to contextualise the complex biological issues addressed midway through the novel?

It is helpful for me to remind myself that this is not War and Peace, nor it is Intensity, nor even is it somewhere in between; the style and structure of the novel is determined by the context itself, not by the lie of the land around it.

Just my thoughts on the matter today. I'll write a little more as I have, well, written a little more of the novel! :-)

There's something about micro-organisms...

that gets me very excited.

Take for instance this page:

uhhh...excuse me while I wipe my drool. Here is a highly efficient way of working with the world. Invisible, compact, profoundly effective and empowering. If we couldn't see bacteria with electron microscopes we'd assume they were spiritual.... as, in some ways, they really are!

teleomentalism... uhhh. The fundamental unity of god's creation and humanity's variable perception of evolution seems to evade either side of the debate. The physical unity of the microbial universe illuminates this progressive, complex, dynamic sense of spiritual unity that science and religion can only aspire to.

I honestly believe the SET theory, detailed above, to be the most effective assimilation of the incredible findings of microbiology in the last decade into the mainstream theory of Darwinian evolution. There is no other way to account for the emergence of complex systems except via the agency of co-operative partnerships.

On the subject of co-operative partnerships, here is the final and ultimate word:

"5. Once a marriageable young girl was alone in her house because her parents and relatives had gone that day to another place. At that time a few men arrived at the house, specifically desiring to marry her. She received them with all hospitality.
6. The girl went to a private place and began to make preparations so that the unexpected male guests could eat. As she was beating the rice, the conchshell bracelets on her arms were colliding and making a loud noise.
7. The young girl feared that the men would consider her family to be poor because their daughter was busily engaged in the menial task of husking rice. Being very intelligent, the shy girl broke the shell bracelets from her arms, leaving just two on each wrist.
8. Thereafter, as the young girl continued to husk the rice, the two bracelets on each wrist continued to collide and make noise. Therefore she took one bracelet off each arm, and with only one left on each wrist there was no more noise.
9. O subduer of the enemy, I travel throughout the surface of the earth learning constantly about the nature of this world, and thus I personally witnessed the lesson of the young girl.
10. When many people live together in one place there will undoubtedly be quarreling. And even if only two people live together there will be frivolous conversation and disagreement. Therefore, to avoid conflict, one should live alone, as we learn from the example of the bracelet of the young girl."

The speaker is Krishna Vasudeva in the Uddhava Gita, speaking, obviously enough, to the disciple Uddhava about the value of solitary co-operation. Krishna's moderate insight and sophisticated intellectualism are as on the money today as they were three thousand years ago. This is from the (somewhat overwrought) translation on

Writing of the novel comes apace. I have put several new mini-chapters online today.

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